Children as young as five are learning how their brain works when they are upset, and what they can do to regulate their emotions. It’s called mindfulness, and it means to become aware of your emotional state at the present moment. Four years ago, Educational Service District 112 launched Empowering P-3, a research project to study how younger students and their teachers could learn how to regulate their emotions and stress through mindfulness training.

Burton and Image Elementary in Evergreen Public Schools were the test schools for the pilot program. The results have been overwhelmingly positive. Stacya Arnett, a second-grade teacher at Burton Elementary reflected, “I was really amazed by what I saw. Even my most hyper kids given practice time were able to calm down significantly more than they could before.”

School staff and teachers know that if children are stressed because of problems at home, it follows them to the classroom and then their ability to learn suffers. Kathleen Keller, the principal at Image Elementary, is thrilled with the outcomes she has seen, “Mindfulness is one of the most effective strategies that we can teach our children.”